*“MasterChef Junior” star Ben Watkins has died at the age of 14 after a battle with a rare cancer.
Watkin was diagnosed in July with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, a rare soft tissue tumor that affects children and young adults, People reported. His death comes three years after both his parents were killed in a domestic violence incident in 2017.
Watkins won over the hearts of millions when he put his culinary skills to the test on season six of Fox’s “MasterChef Junior.” He died on Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported. In a statement, his family said he had gone “home to be with his mother.”
“After losing both his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben’s strength, courage and love for life,” the statement, shared on a GoFundMe campaign page, said. “He never, ever complained. Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know.”
We lost a Master of the @MasterChefJrFOX kitchen today. Ben you were an incredibly talented home cook and even stronger young man. Your young life had so many tough turns but you always persevered. Sending all the love to Ben Watkins’ family with this terrible loss Gx pic.twitter.com/RX81hP7lbw
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) November 17, 2020
The statement continued, “When Ben’s rare illness was shared with the world, he was so heartened by the outpouring of love he received from every corner of the globe — especially here in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. We cannot thank this community enough for holding out family up in prayer and for all that you’ve done.”
“Ben suffered more than his share in his fourteen years on this Earth but we take solace in that his suffering is finally over and in that, in the end, Ben knew he was loved by so many,” the statement concluded.
“Despite all the pain and sickness Ben went through, he never complained, not once,” Ben’s uncle Anthony Edwards told the Chicago Tribune. He took legal guardianship over his nephew following the death of his parents. Ben’s father shot and killed his mother and then himself. The tragedy occurred after the teen filmed season six of “MasterChef Junior.”
The season aired the following year, and when viewers heard about his tragic story, they raised $30,000 as a trust fund for Watkins through GoFundMe.
“MasterChef Junior” host” Gordon Ramsey reacted to his death in a statement on Twitter.
“We lost a Master of the @MasterChefJrFOX kitchen today. Ben you were an incredibly talented home cook and even stronger young man. Your young life had so many tough turns but you always persevered. Sending all the love to Ben Watkins’ family with this terrible loss,” Ramsey wrote.